Chagas disease is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. It is a common cause of heart disease in endemic areas of Latin America. The year 2009 marks the 100th anniversary of the discovery of T cruzi infection and Chagas disease by the Brazilian physician Carlos Chagas. Chagasic cardiomyopathy develops in from 10% to 30% of persons who are chronically infected with this parasite. Echocardiography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are important modalities in the evaluation and prognostication of individuals with chagasic heart disease. The etiology of chagasic heart disease likely is multifactorial. Parasite persistence, autoimmunity, and microvascular abnormalities have been studied extensively as possible pathogenic mechanisms. Experimental studies suggest that alterations in cardiac gap junctions may be etiologic in the pathogenesis of conduction abnormalities. The diagnosis of chronic Chagas disease is made by serology. The treatment of this infection has shortcomings that need to be addressed. Cardiac transplantation and bone marrow stem cell therapy for persons with Chagas disease have received increasing research attention in recent years.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine